Holder Contempt Vote A Partisan Distraction; House Should Focus on Job Creation Legislation
(WASHINGTON)—Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released this statement following the vote in the House of Representatives to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
“This attorney general has gone to extraordinary lengths to accommodate Congress’ request for information by appearing before it nine times and providing over 7,000 pages of documents. Moreover, the night before the Oversight Committee voted to send this measure to the floor, Attorney General Holder made a compelling, good faith offer to answer any remaining questions the committee may have regarding Operation Fast and Furious.
“Instead Chairman Issa rejected that offer in favor of pursuing a small set of deliberative documents that have nothing to do with the matter that started the investigation in the first place. In fact, Chairman Issa has admitted that there is no evidence that the attorney general approved or even knew of Operation Fast and Furious nor that the attorney general lied in order to shield the department from Congressional scrutiny. This investigation has degenerated into an attempt to score political points during an election year.
“In deciding to go along with this partisan stunt, House Republican Leadership has broken from this body’s tradition and its obligation to reach an accommodation with the executive branch. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee during the 110th Congress, in an attempt to reach a reasonable compromise with the Bush administration on the U.S.attorneys scandal, I waited six months between the Judiciary Committee vote recommending contempt and the final vote for a contempt citation on the House floor. That good faith effort to reach an accommodation was essential to the House’s success in enforcing the contempt citation in court. In contrast, House Republican leadership has waited only seven days between the Oversight Committee vote and the vote on the floor today.
“The House should be spending its time considering measures important to our constituents such as job creation legislation. But clearly this majority is more concerned with scoring political points than focusing on the economic problems facing the American people.”